Court dog program - FAQ

This FAQ provides answers to some common questions about Court Dog Poppy and the Court Dog Program. If you have further questions, please contact the Court via: Melb.CourtDog@fcfcoa.gov.au

  1. Who is the Court Facility dog?

    Poppy is a 2 year old black Labrador. She underwent training with Guide Dogs Victoria and was placed with the Courts as a Therapy/Facility Dog. A Facility Dog is a special type of Therapy Dog that is trained to work in a particular location, in this case, a court.

  2. How can Poppy support you?

    A professionally trained facility dog can provide comfort and emotional support to people in the justice system, give a sense of normalcy, assist with opening up communication, provide a healthy distraction from an overwhelming trauma response and a physical source of calming touch. Poppy is able to provide support to court users in a number of settings such as in the courtroom, court foyer and waiting areas, mediation rooms, and Court Children Services interviews.

  3. What will Poppy do in Court?

    Poppy’s objective is to offer support to court users. She is trained to be calm and resting whilst in court or in an interview, and not to be a distraction.

    In a courtroom, Poppy can sit in the witness box either by the person’s side or at their feet. Some witnesses may also prefer to hold Poppy’s lead whilst they give evidence. Poppy’s handler will be seated in the courtroom or outside of any conference room.

    In the foyer or a waiting area, she will always be on her lead and accompanied by her handler, never free roaming.

  4. Can I pat Poppy?

    If you see Poppy wearing her vest, it signals that she is working and should not be pet until her handler says that you can say hello.

  5. Can I take a photo of Poppy?

    Photos of Poppy are always welcome. However, no photos are permitted while Court is in session and court users are expected to always be mindful of other people’s privacy, as well as in family law, the restriction in section 121 of the Family Law Act against publishing any material identifying any party or child involved in a family law proceeding.

  6. Can I feed Poppy treats?

    Poppy is a working dog and has her designated feeding breaks. Please do not feed her any food.

  7. Does Poppy need bathroom breaks?

    Poppy is trained to go to the bathroom during her breaks. Poppy has a welfare break approximately every 90 minutes.

  8. Can I request Poppy to be at my court event?

    Yes, you can request Poppy to be present at your court event via email to the Melbourne Registry, the Chambers of the presiding Judicial Officer, or to the Court Children’s Service administration, as applicable.

  9. What can I do if I am not comfortable being near a dog?

    The Court will notify the parties and practitioners of each court event that Poppy is scheduled to attend. If you have any fears, allergies or cultural concerns, please advise the judicial officer’s staff, the registry or the Court Children’s Service so the Court can consider how best they may be accommodated. 

    When in the registry building, Poppy will always be on leash and will not approach members of public unless with her Handler.

  10. How can I provide feedback on my experience with Poppy?

    The FCFCOA welcomes all feedback from court users regarding their experience with Poppy. Please complete our short feedback form via the QR codes located outside the courtrooms, near the elevators and building foyer, or below.